I had an alarming phone call from my good friend and Neighborhood Horticultural Outreach Worker, Heather. She rang to tell me that she had stopped by earlier and, as I wasn’t home, she peered in the window at Lazarus to check on his well-being. (Those of you who have been with me for a while will recall my previous problems with Lazarus.) So she was ringing now “to have a delicate conversation. It’s about Lazarus. He has scabies.” Well! I couldn’t have been more shocked. Or embarrassed. Imagine having a ficus with scabies, and not even knowing it.
“Whatever shall I do?” I cried.
“You have to get a scab gun,” she replied calmly. Now, I was a fairly decent target shooter some 35 or 40 years ago, but since then my eyesight has diminished rather a lot and I was having real trouble seeing myself shooting scabs off a ficus. Even at my best, I don’t know that I could have managed that.
“Where would I get one of those?” I asked. “What’s it called? Do I need a license?”
“It’s just called a Scab Gun. You get it at the plant place.” Before I could ask about what sort of ammo it would need, she put the phone down to go check the name on her’s, just to be sure. “Oh,” she laughed. “It isn’t a scab gun; it’s a scale gun. Lazarus has scale.”
Oh, what a relief. I suppose. “So how do I use it?”
“Just spray it on all the leaves, both sides,” she explained, confidently. “My ficus has it too,” she admitted. The following day I actually found the scale gun (!) at the grocery store, and have given Lazarus his first dose.
I guess I’m in pretty good company, then, if even her plants can be infected. Which brings me to the point of wondering … just who infected whom? I have a palm in the TV room that I think may have it too, so he’ll be next. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if what he has actually is scabies. MM